No Pic
U993.25.6
Lontar Palm Manuscripts
Palm Leaf; Ink
Indonesia (Bali), 20th century

This manuscript illustrates scenes from the Ramayana epic. It has inscised figural decorations on the cover. The words of the epic are on one face of the leaves and the illustrations on the other.
No Pic
U993.25.8
Lontar Palm Manuscripts
Palm Leaf; Ink
Indonesia (Bali), 20th century

Very similar to U993.25.6, this is also a manuscript illustrating scenes from the Ramayana epic.
No Pic
U993.25.9
Lontar Palm Manuscripts
Palm Leaf; Ink
Indonesia (Bali), 20th century

The two Chinese coins have been lost from this manuscript of scenes from the Ramayana epic. The surface of the cover is incised with floral lozenges.
No Pic M964.1.80
Carved Staff
Wood; Hair
Indonesia (Sumatra), 20th century

This carved wood ceremonial staff is from Brastagi, Sumatra. It was acquired by the Maltwoods, although further research is required to determine where and when. Staffs such as this are used by either a manang (a shamanistic healer), probably of the Batak people, or a lemambang (a bard). Both professions require an ability to recite long, rhyming saga which can sometimes last for days. The staff helps beat out the rhythms of the verse.

Chin and Mashman, Sarawak: Cultural Legacy; Richter, Arts and Crafts of Indonesia
No Pic U993.3.19
Penggulu beaded neckpiece
Beads, wood, string
Sarawak/Kalimantan (Borneo), 20th century

Beads are very important in Sarawak. They are not used to simply beautify objects with colour, but are thought to have spiritual qualities which include protection, an indication of a person's social status and standing in the ancestral cult, and the ability to strenthen the soul of the priest or priestess when dealing with spirits. Different regions of Sarawak have varying traditions related to beadwork. Iban men traditionally wear neck ornaments sometimes described as a “bead rope,” such as this Penggulu neckpiece.

This item was acquired by Colin Henderson Smith and Gloria M. (nee Burroughs) Smith during their stay in Sarawak.

Bibliography: Chin and Mashman, Sarawak: Cultural Legacy; Richter, Arts and Crafts of Indonesia

Chin and Mashman, Sarawak: Cultural Legacy; Richter, Arts and Crafts of Indonesia
No Pic U992.23.31
Carved Hornbill beak
Sarawak/Kalimantan/Borneo
20th century

This rare piece of carving was acquired by Colin Henderson Smith and Gloria M. (nee Burroughs) Smith during their stay in Sarawak. The carved top part of the hornbill beak has been incised with stylized "aso," or dog, motifs; the red sides use similar designs but are openwork filigree.

The Hornbill is among the most sacred birds to many of the peoples of Sarawak and Kalimantan. This piece is probably an offering container. The Orang Ulu used to carve hornbill ivory for personal adornment as ear-rings, worn by men. Hornbill ivory is a delicate material and only a few people are able to carve the fine designs.

Bibliography: Chin and Mashman, Sarawak: Cultural Legacy; Richter, Arts and Crafts of Indonesia; Harrison, World Within: A Borneo Story; Haddon, A.C., "The Dog-motif in Bornean Art" (copy in document file)

No Pic
U992.23.30
Ceremonial Dish
Wood
Sarawak/Kalimantan/Borneo
20th century

This is a carved ceremonial offering dish for the Temonggong's Gauwi Antu. The Gawai Antu is the Feast of the Departed Spirits, the greatest of the Iban festivals. The festival is held in honour of all who have died since the previous Gawai Antu, and usually lasts for ten to fifteen days. Thus, it illustrates the close connection between arts made for religious and funerary uses.

Bibliography: Chin and Mashman, Sarawak: Cultural Legacy; Richter, Arts and Crafts of Indonesia

No Pic U983.8.1
Medicine doll, Male
Wood; paint
India (Mangalore)
n. d.

A male figure of carved wood has incised and painted details. The clothing is represented by elaborate incised designs and the headdress by brown paint. He also wears large ear ornaments

No Pic U983.8.2
Medicine doll, Female
Wood; Paint
India (Mangalore)
n. d.

A companion to U983.8.1, the carved female figure also sits on base and has incised marks to represent the clothing. She wears no headdress, but has a braid down her back. Like the male figure, she wears large earrings.